“Apocalypse is Treyarch’s grand finale to Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” said Treyarch Studio Head, Mark Lamia. “It is the perfect culmination of our efforts, and fan feedback, with two all-new multiplayer maps for players to experience for the first time, and two fully reimagined fan-favorite multiplayer maps from past games – and Origins, our most epic Zombies experience to date. Apocalypse is a DLC pack that our fans will never forget.”
Call of Duty: Black Ops II Apocalypse delivers four diverse multiplayer maps:
- Pod: A failed utopian community from the 70′s has left stacks of dilapidated residential pods nestled into an abandoned cliff side in Taiwan. Its residents long gone, the modernist compound now hosts frenetic combat as players must run atop the pods, as well as navigate their multi-tiered interiors for a strategic edge.
- Frost: Fresh snow meets explosive gunpowder in this snow-capped European city, where the bridge over a frozen canal separates it into two sides, requiring players to employ multi-level traversal strategies to outsmart and ultimately outshoot their enemies.
- Takeoff: Fans of “Stadium” from the original Call of Duty®: Black Ops First Strike DLC will find themselves at home on “Takeoff.” Marooned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this remote launch site is all about close-quarters combat, combining tight corners with open spaces for intense encounters.
- Dig: An adaptation of the fan-favorite “Courtyard” from Call of Duty®: World at War, where two archeological dig sites in Afghanistan become the perfect playground for combatants eager for hectic, unceasing confrontations. Treyarch, has retained the spirit of “Courtyard” with two major chokepoints, a wide open layout and raised platforms, but has provided fans with a fresh take on the multitude of paths.
In addition to the four maps, Apocalypse also reveals Origins, the most horrifying and imaginative Zombies experience to date. Players will be deployed to Dieselpunk-stylized World War I-era France where they will encounter the return of the four original heroes from the very first Zombies map, Tank, Nikolai, Takeo, and Rictofen, as well as hordes of zombies that have overrun trenches and fields, as well as the ruins of a mysterious and ancient location.
Unleashed after the Germans unearthed the mysterious “Element 115,” this next chapter in the Zombies legacy will explore the saga’s origins as players reunite with an unlikely band of soldiers that come together to defeat the greatest evil the world has ever seen, using a period-specific arsenal that includes Wonder Weapons that harness supernatural powers, a diesel-drone and Mark IV tank, as well a new perk machine and power-ups – and that’s just the start. Players will need all the help they can get to succeed in defeating the undead, as well as evading an unprecedented 1,000-foot tall robot abomination. In this stylized undead adventure, they’ll need every advantage if they have any hope of surviving one of Treyarch’s deepest Zombies experiences to date.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II Apocalypse will be available first, exclusively on Xbox Live for the Xbox 360® games and entertainment system from Microsoft for 1200 Microsoft Points on August 27, with other platforms to follow. Players who have already purchased the Season Pass can download Apocalypse as soon as it becomes available.
Activision earned $1.05 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2013, down slightly from $1.075 billion during the same period in 2012. Digital sales (including DLC) accounted for $387 million (37 percent) of the total.
A large part of Activision’s report — including an earnings call held this afternoon — focused on the announcement last week that Activision bought back a $5.83 billion stake from Vivendi, becoming an independent company with the majority of shares held by the public.
“We are pleased with our second-quarter results, which confirm the preliminary results we released last week when we announced our transaction with Vivendi,” CEO Bobby Kotick said. “The agreement we reached with Vivendi will make us an independent company and should deliver meaningful earnings per share accretion to our shareholders. Our solid performance across our franchises and strong digital sales, including continued significant growth this quarter in our Call of Duty downloadable content business over the previous year, validate our belief that we will enter this new period of independence in a position to leverage the flexibility and focus that it provides.”
“Despite this strength in the front half of the year, we remain cautious about the back half,” Kotick noted. “The issues we previously identified, including increased competition in the second half of the year and uncertainties surrounding the console transition, remain on the horizon. We are confident that we will continue to successfully navigate industry challenges and find new opportunities to provide superior returns to our shareholders.”
Activision noted that Skylanders Giants is “the number one best-selling console and handheld game overall in dollars for the first six months of 2013” in both North America and Europe when considering sales that include accessories (in other words, when considering Skylanders’ massive toy sales). Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is number two. The Skylanders franchise has generated more than $1.5 billion worldwide to date.
Looking ahead, Activision noted the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Ghosts, which has “double” the pre-orders of Call of Duty: Black Ops (the last “sub-brand” launched for the franchise). Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg noted that Ghosts has the “most aggressive” marketing and digital promotions in the history of the Call of Duty series. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime also revealed that upcoming project Titan will not be a subscription-based MMO, easing investors’ concerns over dwindling World of Warcraft numbers.
In addition to Ghosts, Activision’s upcoming release slate includes console versions of Diablo III in September, Skylanders Swap Force in October and Destiny in 2014.
Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing explained that this is why pre-orders for Ghosts are currently “well below the record-setting pace set by Call of Duty: Black Ops II last year”.
He added: “Our quantitative consumer research indicates that hesitation amongst past club pre-orders is primarily due to not knowing which platform they will be playing on, which is natural at this time in the console transition.”
All isn’t lost for Ghosts, however, with Hirshberg adding that “pre-orders are over double those of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which is the last time we launched a new sub-brand for the franchise”.
“We also have in place the most aggressive marketing retail and digital programs in the history of the franchise,” he explained. “We’ve made substantial investments to make Ghosts a showcase for the next-gen consoles and also the best current-gen Call of Duty title ever.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released November 5 for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Wii U, with PS4 and Xbox One versions also set to arrive alongside the new console launches.
Source: Activision Q2 Earnings Call via Seeking Alpha